Ahaziah, King of Israel

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, August 22, 2022 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

After the evil king Ahab who “did more evil in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30), his son Ahaziah took the throne. Jehoshaphat had been the king of Judah for 17 years at that point.

The apple didn’t fall far from the tree with King Ahaziah, and he followed in Ahab’s footsteps. “He did evil in the eyes of the LORD, because he followed the ways of his father and mother and of Jeroboam son of Nebat, who caused Israel to sin. He served and worshiped Baal and aroused the anger of the LORD, the God of Israel, just as his father had done” (1 Kings 22:52-53). So far, all of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel have done evil and been disobedient to God, and Ahaziah is no exception.

Ahaziah’s disobedience resulted in God’s judgment, which showed itself in 3 ways in his life – politically, economically, and personally. Politically, after Ahab died, Moab rebelled against Israel. Economically, Ahaziah attempted to align himself with Jehoshaphat, and God thwarted that. Personally, Ahaziah literally fell through the ceiling of his home in Samaria and injured himself. (2 Kings 1:1-2)

Because of his injury, Ahaziah wants to know if he will recover. So rather than ask the all-knowing God of the universe, he instead desires to turn to Baal-Zebub, the god of Ekron. He sends a messenger to go ask that god. Meanwhile, God intervenes through the prophet Elijah. God sends Elijah to go meet Ahaziah’s messengers and tell them that because Ahaziah is seeking advice from a false god rather than the true God, he will not leave his bed and will die. The messengers returned to Ahaziah and told him what Elijah told them. The messengers didn’t know who Elijah was, but Ahaziah figured it out based on the description they gave (2 Kings 1:3-8).

In response, the king sends a captain with a company of 50 men to Elijah to ask him to come down from the top of the hill where he was sitting. The captain addresses him as “Man of God.” Elijah responds by saying, “If I am a man of God, may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” (2 Kings 1:10). And that’s exactly what happened.

The king repeats this process again with another captain and 50 more men. We do not know if the second group knew of the fate of the first group. If they did, they’d likely be reluctant to go face Elijah in the same manner, though their loyalty to their king likely would have likely pushed them to go. The exact same dialogue takes place, and the exact same thing happens again (2 Kings 1:11-12).

Then the king repeats this process a third time. This time, we know that the men know the fate of the first two groups; the captain pleads for his life with Elijah after what happened to the first two groups. This time, the angel of the Lord tells Elijah that it’s okay to go with them to see King Ahaziah, and the men live to tell about it (2 Kings 1:13-15).

When Elijah goes to see Ahaziah, he delivers the same message that he gave to the king’s messengers previously – that the king will never leave his bed and will die there because he wanted to consult a false god instead of the true God. So, King Ahaziah died, according to what Elijah prophesied (2 Kings 1:16-17).

However, Ahaziah did not have a son, so the kingship could not continue down family lines as it often had previously. Instead, Joram became king, who was another of Ahab’s sons, a brother to Ahaziah.

What can we learn from Ahaziah’s reign? As with all of the evil kings who disobeyed God, we must strive to be obedient to God. If we disobey Him, negative consequences will happen, but if we obey Him, we will be blessed. Any one of these kings of Israel could have turned things around; even though the kings before them were wicked, that doesn’t mean they had to be wicked as well. But, as with us, it is easier to keep doing what has been done before us and to model what we have seen. Each of these evil kings had a bad role model, whom they followed during their reigns.

From the interaction between Ahaziah and Elijah, the clear message is to listen to God. Ahaziah did not even seek out listening to God but rather sought to find out his fate from the false god Baal-Zebub. Elijah listened to God and only did what God told him was okay to do, even to the point of consuming over a hundred men by fire in an instant. Elijah also listened to God’s message and proclaimed it to the king, even though that must have been difficult to do. Elijah had the faith to proclaim God’s message no matter what the consequences for him might be.

It should be noted that after proclaiming death to the king of Israel, Elijah’s work was done on this earth and God took him up into heaven (2 Kings 2:1-12). Elijah did not technically die a physical death but instead transitioned from this life to the next in the chariot of fire. He was rewarded in this way for his obedience to God and for delivering the prophetic messages that God gave him.

Are you listening to God in your own life? Or are you turning to worldly influences to figure out your life as King Ahaziah did? Ahaziah turned to ungodly influences and died; Elijah listened to God and lived. Choose wisely.

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